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Ford recalls life at Union

JACKSON, Tenn.Jan. 25, 2002 – With Union University’s 2002 Homecoming rapidly approaching, alumni will reunite with old friends and classmates and reflect on their times at Union. Alumnus, Dr. J.L. Ford, hasn’t missed a homecoming since his graduation in 1950.

Ford, a 73-year-old retiree who now resides in Brentwood, Tenn., was a Bible major at Union under the instruction of Dr. R.C. Briggs and Dr. Keel. In addition to being a dedicated student, Ford worked part-time in a small country store and the last three years of college served as a student-pastor to a church in Missouri. Every weekend he made the trip in his 32 black Ford Coup.

When not studying, Ford enjoyed intramural sports and Union’s campus life. Ford made several good friends and memories during his time at Union. One of Ford’s best friends is a fellow graduate, Dr. Chester L. Smith.

“We studied Bible together, and lucky for me, Chester introduced my future wife, Mary, to me on a trip to New Orleans,” says Ford.

Celebrating fifty years of marriage, the Fords have two children, Brian Ford of Jackson, and Martha Robinson and are also the proud grandparents of six. One granddaughter, Valerie Ford, is a sophomore at Union.

“I’m glad to know that Valerie is getting a solid Christ-centered education like I did,” says Ford.

The former president and treasurer of the Tennessee Baptist Adult Homes, Ford has pastored several churches throughout his career and has retired twice.

“I tried to retire, but the Lord keeps calling me to work,” says Ford with a chuckle.

Ford currently serves as interim pastor at First Baptist Church in Woodberry, Tenn. However, since he and Mary live in Brentwood, he still travels every weekend much as in the beginning of his career.

Ford is looking forward to Union’s homecoming this year.

“I am anxious to see the campus and its development,” says Ford. “I am also thrilled at the thought of seeing my friends that I’ve known through the years.”

For more information on “Homecoming 2002: Under Construction,” contact the Alumni Office at (800) 338-6644.

By Ginger Rowlett ('03)
Special to Union Today

Media contact: Sara B. Horn, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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